Flora Duffy's amazing 2016 season has vaulted her from Olympic participant to medal contender. TriathlonWorld.com caught up with the WTS leader about her expectations for Rio.
August 11, 2016 | PERSONALITY|
If you’d asked her last fall what result would make her happy in Rio, she would have told you that she’d be happy with a top-10. Considering Flora Duffy’s track record at the Olympics – a DNF in Beijing and a crash in London (she would eventually finish 45th), you can understand how just getting to the line in a decent position would cut it.
Then came 2016, a year in which Duffy has shone on the ITU circuit. She leads the WTS standings thanks to a number of podium finishes including a third in Cape Town, a runner-up finish in Leeds along with wins in Stockholm and last weekend’s Montreal World Cup.
"At the start of the year I thought my best result would be between sixth and tenth – if I could get anywhere in there [I thought], I’d be super happy,” Duffy says. “Because of my results this year, that’s shifted a little further down in the top 10, but it’s the Olympics. You don’t know what is going to happen. Weird things happen and people come out of the woodwork.”
Every triathlon fan on the planet is expecting to see Duffy be one of the main instigators in the women’s race on August 20. The 28-year-old from Bermuda is looking forward to the opportunity to fulfill those expectations.
“It’s fun to be one of the main instigators in the race,” she says. “Through this year my confidence has really grown to race to my strength and do it my way. Hopefully I have a couple of girls as company and everyone knows that they need to nail the bike in order to medal.”
Bermuda, a country of just 65,000 people, doesn’t often have athletes touted as potential medal contenders. Duffy is all-too-aware of the hopes she carries for her country, but seems to be prepared to handle the pressure.
“I’ve been portrayed as a potential medalist – [in Bermuda] we don’t have that every year. It’s definitely something I know and am conscious about.”
“It’s a little intense going into the Olympics, regardless of what expectation you have on you,” she continues. “At the start of the year I said that as long as I swim, bike and run exactly how I know I can and execute a race to my strengths, that would make me happy … but then, because of the season, my expectations have grown a little, but I finish anywhere in the top 10 I have to be thrilled with it.”
Duffy’s been competing in triathlon races since she was seven years old. A former swimmer (she represented Bermuda at the 2004 junior Commonwealth Games in the pool), she routinely is one of the first women out of the water at almost any event she competes in. Considered the strongest cyclist on the women’s circuit who has excellent bike handling skills, Duffy appears perfectly suited for Rio’s challenging bike course which includes both a tough hill and a challenging descent.
No matter where she finishes up in Rio, you know that Duffy will do her country proud. Her journey to Olympic contender has been a good one. Now she gets to just have fun executing a race that will meet her own expectations – one that is sure to make a lot of her competitors hurt on the bike.